Stories Never Told

For anyone who wonders about stories never told, there’s an interesting article by Ron Unz that’s been circulating the web (I found it on Marginal Revolution).

Alongside a variety of criticisms of media reporting from World War II to recent times, Unz focuses especially on three potentially huge stories that were mostly or entirely ignored by the mainstream media. He acknowledges that you can’t be 100% sure they’re true, but at the same time he suggests overwhelming evidence for each of the following:

  • Senator John McCain was involved in a decades-long cover-up of a decision by the Nixon Administration to abandon hundreds of POWs at the end of the Vietnam War.
  • The FBI not only failed to reveal high-ranking government officials discovered to be selling nuclear weapons secrets to foreign intelligence organizations, but threatened and then fired an employee who passed on these findings to her supervisors.
  • There was an obvious culprit in the 2001 anthrax terror attacks who wasn’t pursued by the FBI.

I would have liked to have seen a mention of at least a few scandals that journalists have successfully uncovered. To be fair, they certainly don’t miss everything.

Nonetheless, Unz makes some incisive arguments, speculating that political partisanship causes significant stories to be squashed, while also sharing accusations of outright corruption in major newspapers such as the New York Times. I suspect behavioral psychologists could add to this picture. Having spent years in large financial institutions, I understand well the pressures to ignore certain types of information, and large media organizations probably aren’t that different.

And here’s another link that connects to the same themes

For a double dose of reality about who really runs our country, I suggest reading Unz’s piece and then following it up with Matt Taibbi’s latest article. Unz focuses mostly on past events, but concludes with some chilling thoughts on our present political leadership. Segue from there to Taibbi’s latest update on the never-ending giveaways from politicians (and regulators) to banks. This is the order that I read the two articles late last night, and it wasn’t a cheery way to head to bed.

In Taibbi’s article, he reports that any hope for more transparency and other needed reforms in the derivatives markets is being gradually snuffed out. His commentary is less on the media and more on perverse incentives in our political system, but the message is the same and reinforces Unz’s conclusions.

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One Response to Stories Never Told

  1. rmark says:

    IIRC, a magazine article from years ago stated that more POW’s came back than were expected.

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